If you’re the kind of expecting parent who has read 39 weeks of this calendar, this is probably not your only parenting reference. Maybe you started with the pregnancy “bible,” Heidi Murkoff’s What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
If you just skimmed it to make sure it was okay to drink coffee or eat sushi or go to yoga class, you might have missed the introduction, which tells a remarkable story about how Murkoff came to be the patron saint of parenting.
Murkoff was pregnant with her first child and couldn’t find answers to her questions. So she started researching and writing down her findings. She submitted the first draft of What to Expect just before she went into labor with her daughter, who now graces the cover of the fifth edition.
Emily Oster was pregnant with her first child when she couldn’t find the answers to her questions. So she started researching too, using her skills as an economist to evaluate and summarize scientific and medical findings. That research became my pregnancy bible, Expecting Better.
That’s my story, too. While pregnant for the first time, I wondered why there were so many books answering parents’ questions, but no books teaching them strategies for answering their own questions. As soon as we all started sleeping through the night, I started writing snackdinner.
You’ll see this same story repeated over and over in popular parenting books. A curious parent asks a question, and finds not just an answer, but a new mission and perhaps career.
These final quiet days of your pregnancy are a great time to start making your own noise as a critical thinker and researcher. What have you learned during this pregnancy, and how might your unique skill set make you well-suited to presenting that research to others?
Instead of sharing viral articles about the next big panic, make your own sane splash on the parenting community. Write a blog. Record a podcast. Submit an essay to the New York Times’ Well Family Column or the Washington Post’s On Parenting. Start a new business. Make parenting a little less stressful and a lot more fun for the pregnant people and partners who come behind you.